Opendata, web and dolomites


Symbiont-assisted cuticle biosynthesis as a key innovation contributing to the evolutionary success of beetles

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 SYMBeetle project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the SYMBeetle project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "SYMBeetle" about.

stored    provision    relaxing    facilitators    rigorous    host    humidity    supplementing    associate    trait    underlying    evolution    dry    ecological    exploits    symbiotic    insect    seven    understand    symbeetle    resistance    contexts    hampered    taxonomic    acid    transform    transition    tanning    nitrogen    replicated    indicates    tests    front    colonization    herbivory    associations    uniquely    acquisition    symbionts    evolutionary    elucidating    microbial    habitats    events    aromatic    contribution    exoskeleton    least    inability    cuticle    origins    biosynthesis    agricultural    crops    allowed    phylogenetically    central    dependence    beetles    desiccation    pests    adaptations    emergence    successful    niches    hardening    assisted    cuticular    usually    tractable    hypothesis    fitness    symbiont    manipulate    niche    experimental    defense    diversification    wings    constituted    ecology    microbes    economically    naturally    barrier    families    ambient    protective    lack    innovation    supplementation    symbioses    relevance    expand    elucidate    diets    candidate    combine    experimentally    subsisting    thick    amino    manipulation    tyrosine    expansion    rigid    replicate   

Project "SYMBeetle" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: SAARSTRASSE 21
city: MAINZ
postcode: 55122

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 1˙997˙750 €
 EC max contribution 1˙997˙750 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2018-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-06-01   to  2024-05-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

To elucidate the key adaptations underlying evolutionary success remains one of the central challenges in evolution and ecology. However, rigorous experimental tests are usually hampered by the lack of replicate evolutionary events or the inability to manipulate a candidate trait of importance. SYMBeetle exploits the naturally replicated evolution of an experimentally tractable, symbiont-assisted key adaptation in beetles to understand its impact on niche expansion and diversification. Recent evidence indicates that beetles across at least seven different families associate with microbial symbionts that provision their host with tyrosine, an aromatic amino acid necessary for cuticle biosynthesis, hardening, and tanning. SYMBeetle addresses the hypothesis that the acquisition of tyrosine-supplementing microbes constituted a key innovation across phylogenetically distinct beetles that allowed them to expand into novel ecological niches, by relaxing the dependence on nitrogen-rich diets for successful formation of the rigid exoskeleton and protective front wings. Specifically, tyrosine supplementation may facilitate the transition to herbivory and allow for subsisting at very low ambient humidity, by facilitating the production of a thick cuticular barrier to desiccation. To test this, SYMBeetle will uniquely combine experimental manipulation of symbiotic associations to assess the symbionts’ contribution to cuticle biosynthesis and its fitness consequences (desiccation resistance and defense) with large-scale comparative approaches aimed at elucidating the taxonomic distribution, ecological contexts, and evolutionary origins of cuticle-supplementing symbioses. The results are expected to transform our understanding of microbes as important facilitators for the evolution of herbivory and the colonization of dry habitats in beetles, two factors of major relevance for the emergence of economically relevant insect pests of agricultural crops and stored products.

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The information about "SYMBEETLE" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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